Rutgers Writers House Alumni Reading feat. Rita Banerjee, Cassandra Gillig, and Becca Klaver Now Live

The Rutgers Writers House Alumni Reading featuring Rita Banerjee, Cassandra Gillig, and Becca Klaver is now live on YouTube. You can watch the reading online here:

Writers House is an undergraduate learning community at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Writers House provides a gateway to the experience of creativity and serves as a laboratory for developing expression in all the media of the twenty-first century. At Writers House, students can work on poetry, fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, autobiography, grant-writing, nature writing, and screenwriting. They can also collaborate on documentary film-making, multimedia composition, and web design. The goal of Writers House is to give students direct access to writing’s constructive and life-changing powers for personal and social good. The entrance to Writers House has no doors. All are welcome.

Featured Authors:

RITA BANERJEE is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Co-Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing program at LIU Brooklyn. She is the author of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative WritingEcho in Four Beats, the novella“A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps, and Cracklers at Night. Her work appearsin Hunger Mountain, Isele, Nat. Brut., Poets & Writers, Academy of American Poets, Los Angeles Review of Books, Vermont Public Radio, and elsewhere. She is a co-writer of Burning Down the Louvre (2022), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France. She received a 2021-2022 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council for her new memoir and manifesto on female cool, and one of the opening chapters of this new memoir, “Birth of Cool” was a Notable Essay in the 2020 Best American Essays.You can follow her work at ritabanerjee.com

CASSANDRA GILLIG is a writer, archivist, and musician who lives in Kansas City. She writes about policing and gentrification for the Kansas City Defender and co-organizes the Stray Cat Film Center, where she runs the Institute for Whoopi Goldberg Studies. She graduated from Rutgers in 2014 with degrees in English and WGS and still owes $19,000 in student loans. More at orlandogillig.blogspot.com.

BECCA KLAVER is a writer, teacher, editor, scholar, and literary collaboration conjurer. She is the author of the poetry collections LA Liminal (Kore Press, 2010), Empire Wasted (Bloof Books, 2016), and Ready for the World (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), as well as several chapbooks. Midwinter Constellation, a book cowritten with 31 other poets in homage to Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day, will be published in 2022. As an editor, she cofounded Switchback Books; is currently coediting the anthology Electric Gurlesque; and has created pop-up journals such as Women Poets Wearing Sweatpants and Across the Social Distances. She lives in Chicago. For more see: https://beccaklaver.com/.

December 3: Isele Magazine Inaugural Reading feat. Rita Banerjee, E.C. Osondu, Erin Stalcup, & others! * 12:00-1:30 pm EST

Isele Magazine will be launching its Diverse Voices Reading Series on December 3, 2021 at 12 noon EST, and some of the featured writers in their Inaugural Reading will include E.C. Osondu, Rita Banerjee, and Erin Stalcup!

Isele Magazine is celebrating one year of publishing diverse stories with ten leading writers from around the world. In July 2020, Isele Magazine published its inaugural issue of stories and poems by writers who hold a mirror to our society and who challenge conventional expectations about ways of being, how to be, and who decides who should be. One year after the genre-defining issue, the magazine has since published over 100 writers from more than 15 countries worldwide, who continue to uplift and shape our thinking. The reading series is hosted by Ukamaka Olisakwe.

Isele Magazine Reading
feat. E.C. Osondu,
Rita Banerjee, and Erin Stalcup

Friday December 3, 2021 * 12:00-1:30 pm EST
Join via Zoom!

Featured Authors:

E.C. Osondu is the author of the story collections Voice of America and Alien Storiesand the novel This House Is Not for Sale. He is a winner of the Caine Prize, a Pushcart Prize, BOA Fiction Prize, among other prizes. A professor of English at Providence College, his fiction has appeared in GuernicaThe AtlanticAGNIn+1The Kenyon ReviewMcSweeney’sZyzzyvaThe Threepenny ReviewThe New Statesman and many other places, and has been translated into over half a dozen languages.


Rita Banerjee is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Co-Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing program at the George Polk School of Communications at LIU Brooklyn. She is the author of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, Echo in Four Beats, the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps, and Cracklers at Night. She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard University, her MFA from the University of Washington, and her BA in English Honors from Rutgers University. Her work appears in Hunger Mountain, Isele, Nat. Brut., Poets & Writers, Academy of American Poets, Los Angeles Review of Books, Vermont Public Radio, and elsewhere. She is a co-writer of Burning Down the Louvre (2022), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France. She received a 2021-2022 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council for her new memoir and manifesto on female cool, and one of the opening chapters of this new memoir, “Birth of Cool” was a Notable Essay in the 2020 Best American Essays. Her writing is represented by Folio Literary Management, and you can follow her work at ritabanerjee.com. 


Erin Stalcup is Editor-in-Chief of Defunct. Born and raised and educated in Flagstaff, on occupied Diné and Hopi land, she first left to live in Brooklyn, and has never since changed her (917) cellphone number. Erin has taught in community colleges, universities, liberal arts schools, prisons, state schools, and MFA programs in Manhattan, Asheville, Denton, her alma mater in her hometown, Montpelier, and now she’s back in Brooklyn. She is a co-founder of Waxwing, and served as Editor of Hunger Mountain. Her books include the story collection And Yet It Moves, and the novels Every Living Species and the forthcoming Keen--a chapter of which was published in Isele. You can read and hear some of her work at erinstalcup.xyz.   


Dennis Mugaa is a writer from Meru, Kenya. He was longlisted for the Afritondo Short Story Prize and was a finalist for the Black Warrior Review Fiction Contest. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jalada, Lolwe, Isele and Washington Square Review. He is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia where he is a Miles Morland Foundation Scholarship recipient. 


Roseline Mgbodichinma is a Nigerian writer, poet and blogger who is passionate about documenting women’s stories. She is currently pursuing a law degree and actively freelancing. She is a Contributing fiction editor for barren Magazine, a Nairobi fiction writing workshop (NF2W) scholarship recipient, and a SprinNG alumna. She won the audience favourite award for the Okada books and union bank campus writing challenge, she is the third prize winner for the PIN food poetry contest. Her work has been published on IseleNative SkinDown River RoadAmplifyJFA Human Rights MagBlue Marble ReviewKalahari ReviewIndianapolis Review, the Hellebore, and elsewhere. You can reach her on her blog at www.mgbodichi.com where she writes about art, issues, and lifestyle.


Dr. Nora Ekeanya is a board-certified adult psychiatrist, storyteller, poet, wife, and mother. Born of Nigerian immigrant parents in Tallahassee, FL, she was raised in the United States and Nigeria, though calling Jacksonville, FL, her hometown.  She is a practicing physician in Kansas, where she currently resides, and writes under the alias Nora Nneka.


Sylvia K. Ilahuka is a Tanzanian writer currently living in Uganda. In addition to Isele, her work has been published in LolweDoek!, the Aké ReviewIskanchi Press, and Bandcamp Daily. An alumna of Wellesley College, she is currently working on a Goethe-Institut art project about everyday African feminisms.


Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu is a poet and essayist from Nigeria, whose work has appeared on Isele MagazinePopulaAke ReviewLolweJalada Africa, and elsewhere. She’s a 2018 Fellow of Ebedi Writers Residency, and is the nonfiction editor at Agbowo. Her chapbook of poetry “Sister” was published this year by Akashic Books in collaboration with the African Poetry Book Fund. She’s also a lawyer, and currently works as a specialized reporter at HumAngle


Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike holds a PhD in English from the University of Alberta, Canada. An alumnus of the International Writing Program (USA), Umezurike is a co-editor of Wreaths for Wayfarers, an anthology of poems and the author of Wish Maker (Masobe Books, 2021) and Double Wahala, Double Trouble (Griots Lounge Publishing, 2021). He is the winner of the 2021 Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism.


Sarah Rebecca Kersley is a poet, translator and editor, originally from the UK and based in Brazil for nearly two decades. She is the author of two books published in Brazil: Tipografia oceânica [‘Ocean typography’] (poetry, 2017) and Sábado [‘Saturday’] (memoir/biography/creative non-fiction, 2018). In English, her work has appeared in places such as The Critical FlameWashington Square ReviewIsele Magazine, and elsewhere. She co-runs Livraria Boto-cor-de-rosa/ Paralelo13S, an independent bookshop and small press focused on contemporary literature, in the city of Salvador, Bahia, where she is based.

December 2: Rita Banerjee and Robin Hemley Interview Best-Selling Author and Novelist Torrey Peters on “How Do I Become You?” Polk Professional Series Podcast – 7 pm EST

Join Director of the Polk School, Robin Hemley, and Co-Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing, Rita Banerjee, as they engage in a lively discussion in the fifth of the 2021 season’s Polk Professional Series, “How Do I Become You?”  The series highlights the career paths and accomplishments of of successful writers, journalists, scientists, adventurers, activists, filmmakers and more, all of whom have made a difference by learning to be powerful communicators and to tell stories that count.

When: Dec 2, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: POLK INTERVIEW: WITH TORREY PETERS, AUTHOR
Zoom Info Here!

Torrey Peters is the author of the novel Detransition, Baby, published by One World/Random House, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of the novellas Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones and The Masker. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa and a Masters in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth. Torrey rides a pink motorcycle and splits her time between Brooklyn and an off-grid cabin in Vermont.

Rita Banerjee and Robin Hemley Interview Essayist and Filmmaker David Shields on “How Do I Become You?” Polk Professional Series Podcast – November 18, 2021 * 7 pm EST

Join Director of the Polk School, Robin Hemley, and Co-Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing, Rita Banerjee, as they engage in a lively discussion in the fourth of the 2021 season’s Polk Professional Series, “How Do I Become You?”  The series highlights the career paths and accomplishments of of successful writers, journalists, scientists, adventurers, activists, filmmakers and more, all of whom have made a difference by learning to be powerful communicators and to tell stories that count.

When: Nov 18, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: POLK INTERVIEW: WITH DAVID SHIELDS, AUTHOR AND FILMMAKER
Join us on Zoom!

David Shields is the internationally bestselling author of twenty-three books, including The Very Last Interview(forthcoming from NYRB,  March 2022), Reality Hunger (recently named one of the 100 most important books of the last decade by LitHub), The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead (NYT bestseller), Black Planet (finalist for NBCC award), and Other People: Takes & Mistakes (NYTBR Editors’ Choice). He produced, wrote, and directed, Lynch: A History, a 2019 documentary about Marshawn Lynch’s use of silence, echo, and mimicry as key tools of resistance. Shields’s work has been translated into two dozen languages.

November 11: Rutgers Writers House Alumni Reading feat. Rita Banerjee, Cassandra Gillig, and Becca Klaver * Zoom, 1:00-2:30 pm EST

The Rutgers Writers House will be featuring Rita Banerjee, Cassandra Gillig, and Becca Klaver in a special Writers House Alumni Reading on November 11 from 1-2:30 pm EST via Zoom. More information about the Writers House, the November 11 featured authors, and Zoom follows below:

Rutgers Writers House Alumni Reading
feat. Rita Banerjee, Cassandra Gillig, and Becca Klaver

Thursday, November 11, 2021 * 1:00-2:30 pm EST
Join via Zoom | Meeting ID: 974 2644 6347 | Password: 438370

Writers House is an undergraduate learning community at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Writers House provides a gateway to the experience of creativity and serves as a laboratory for developing expression in all the media of the twenty-first century. At Writers House, students can work on poetry, fiction, drama, creative nonfiction, autobiography, grant-writing, nature writing, and screenwriting. They can also collaborate on documentary film-making, multimedia composition, and web design. The goal of Writers House is to give students direct access to writing’s constructive and life-changing powers for personal and social good. The entrance to Writers House has no doors. All are welcome.

Featured Authors:

RITA BANERJEE is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and Co-Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing program at LIU Brooklyn. She is the author of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative WritingEcho in Four Beats, the novella“A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps, and Cracklers at Night. Her work appearsin Hunger Mountain, Isele, Nat. Brut., Poets & Writers, Academy of American Poets, Los Angeles Review of Books, Vermont Public Radio, and elsewhere. She is a co-writer of Burning Down the Louvre (2022), a documentary film about race, intimacy, and tribalism in the United States and in France. She received a 2021-2022 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council for her new memoir and manifesto on female cool, and one of the opening chapters of this new memoir, “Birth of Cool” was a Notable Essay in the 2020 Best American Essays.You can follow her work at ritabanerjee.com

CASSANDRA GILLIG is a writer, archivist, and musician who lives in Kansas City. She writes about policing and gentrification for the Kansas City Defender and co-organizes the Stray Cat Film Center, where she runs the Institute for Whoopi Goldberg Studies. She graduated from Rutgers in 2014 with degrees in English and WGS and still owes $19,000 in student loans. More at orlandogillig.blogspot.com.

BECCA KLAVER is a writer, teacher, editor, scholar, and literary collaboration conjurer. She is the author of the poetry collections LA Liminal (Kore Press, 2010), Empire Wasted (Bloof Books, 2016), and Ready for the World (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), as well as several chapbooks. Midwinter Constellation, a book cowritten with 31 other poets in homage to Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day, will be published in 2022. As an editor, she cofounded Switchback Books; is currently coediting the anthology Electric Gurlesque; and has created pop-up journals such as Women Poets Wearing Sweatpants and Across the Social Distances. She lives in Chicago. For more see: https://beccaklaver.com/.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Announces its Disobedient Futures Anthology Authors

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is excited to announce their accepted authors for the forthcoming speculative literature anthology Disobedient Futures. The following authors will be featured in the anthology:

Rasha Abdulhadi | Paul Daniel Ash | Madeleine Barnes | Rita Banerjee | Emma Bolden | Alex Carrigan | Kholoud Charaf | Marlena Chertock | Charlene Elsby | Ayokunle Falomo | Robin Hemley | Helen Hofling | Candace Jensen | Shirley Jones-Luke | Liz Kellebrew | Brian Leung | Krysia Wazny McClain | Adam McOmber | Diana Norma Szokolyai | Megan Otto | Martin Ott | Corine Previte | Thaddeus Rutkowski | Mark Salzwedel | Kyle Scott | David Shields | Margo Taft Stever | Bianca Stone | Ella Voss | Maya Williams | Ceceilia Woloch

Stay tuned for more details about Disobedient Futures!

With all the best,
Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai, Editors
Alexander Carrigan and Corrine Previte, Assistant Editors

Rita Banerjee and Robin Hemley Interview Science Writer and Essayist Susanne Paola Antonetta on “How Do I Become You?” Polk Professional Series Podcast – Oct 18, 2021 * 7 pm EDT

Join Director of the Polk School, Robin Hemley, and Co-Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing, Rita Banerjee, as they engage in a lively discussion in the third of the 2021 season’s Polk Professional Series, “How Do I Become You?”  The series highlights the career path and accomplishments of of successful writers, journalists, scientists, adventurers, activists, filmmakers and more, all of whom have made a difference by learning to be powerful communicators and to tell stories that count.

Today’s discussion will be with science writer and essayist Susanne Paola Antonetta.

When: October 21, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: POLK INTERVIEW: WITH SUSANNE PAOLA, Essayist
Join us on Zoom!

Susanne Paola Antonetta’s newest book is The Terrible Unlikelihood of Our Being Here. Forthcoming is The Devil’s Castle. Previous books include Entangled Objects, Make Me a Mother, Curious Atoms, Body Toxic, and A Mind Apart: Travels in a Neurodiverse World. Awards for her writing include a New York Times Notable Book, an American Book Award, a Library Journal Best Science book of the year, an Amazon Top Ten memoir listing, and others. Her work has appeared or been featured in the New York Times, the UK IndependentThe New Republic, CNN, and many other publications

Rita Banerjee and Robin Hemley Interview Memoirist Carvell Wallace on “How Do I Become You?” Polk Professional Series Podcast – Oct 7, 2021 * 7 pm EDT

Join Director of the Polk School, Robin Hemley, and Co-Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing, Rita Banerjee, as they engage in a lively discussion in the second of the 2021 season’s Polk Professional Series, “How Do I Become You?”  The series highlights the career path and accomplishments of of successful writers, journalists, scientists, adventurers, activists, filmmakers and more, all of whom have made a difference by learning to be powerful communicators and to tell stories that count.

Today’s discussion will be with best-selling author and essayist, Carvell Wallace.

When: October 7, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: POLK INTERVIEW: WITH CARVELL WALLACE, Memoirist
Join us on Zoom!

Carvell Wallace is a New York Times Bestselling author, essayist, and podcaster. He covers arts, culture, race, and sports for the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Esquire, The New Yorker, and others. He is the co-author of 2017’s bestseller The Sixth Man which explored race in the NBA, and his Peabody-nominated podcast Finding Fred explored the moral and political questions underlying Fred Rogers teachings. He has guest lectured at New York University, the University of Iowa Graduate Writing Program, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and the UC Berkeley Journalism program. He is currently working on a memoir exploring trauma and love in personal relationships. He lives in Oakland and is the father of two.

Rita Banerjee and Robin Hemley Interview Neuroscientist David J. Linden on “How Do I Become You?” Polk Professional Series Podcast – Sept. 23, 2021 * 7 pm EDT

Join Director of the Polk School, Robin Hemley, and Co-Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing, Rita Banerjee, as they engage in a lively discussion in the first of the 2021 season’s Polk Professional Series, “How Do I Become You?”  The series highlights the career path and accomplishments of of successful writers, journalists, scientists, adventurers, activists, filmmakers and more, all of whom have made a difference by learning to be powerful communicators and to tell stories that count.

Their will be with best-selling author and neuroscientist, David Linden.

When: Sep 23, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: POLK INTERVIEW: WITH DAVID J. LINDEN, NEUROSCIENTIST
Join us on Zoom!

David J. Linden, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Kavli Neuroscience Discovery Institute. His laboratory has worked for many years on the cellular basis of memory storage, recovery of function after brain injury and a few other topics. He has a longstanding interest in scientific communication and served for many years as the Chief Editor of the Journal of Neurophysiology. He is the author of four bestselling books on the biology of behavior for a general audience, The Accidental Mind (2007), The Compass of Pleasure (2011), Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart and Mind (2015), and Unique: The Science of Human Individuality which, to date, have been translated into 21 languages. He also edited a collection of short essays on brain function written for a general audience: Think Tank: Forty Neuroscientists Explore the Biological Roots of Human Experience (2018). His has appeared on the TED Radio Hour, Fresh Air with Terry Gross and many other media outlets

The Vermont Arts Council awards Rita Banerjee a Creation Grant for her new memoir and manifesto on female cool

The Vermont Art Council announces that Rita Banerjee is among the 23 outstanding writers and artists who received a Creation Grant, one of its most sought-after award this year. The grant is funded in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, state, and private donors. Banerjee received a Creation Grant to support the creation of her memoir and manifesto of how female “cool” subverts social, sexual, and economic pressure. Recently, one of the opening chapters of Banerjee’s book “Birth of Cool” was named a Notable Essay in the Best American Essays 2020. Here is more information about her memoir-in-progress:

In Rita Banerjee’s new memoir and manifesto, she demonstrates that for women, and especially young women of color, keeping one’s cool is a psychic shield against social trauma.  Cultivating female cool is what allows women to subvert social, sexual, and economic pressure.  The memoir follows Banerjee as she keeps her cool through 9/11, the 2008 and 2020 stock market crashes, #MeToo, Trumpism, and the pandemic, and in doing so, finds her own agency and self-expression.

Among this year’s Creation Grant winning proposals are works that span visual arts, literary arts, dance, music, film, and multidisciplinary fields, including a music video exploring unjust land ownership for African Americans; a nonfiction book tracing five generations beginning in Iran and ending in Vermont; a tintype photography series capturing Vermont women and aging; and several works exploring social justice themes.

Artistic excellence is the most important criteria in evaluating an application for this highly competitive award. A record 202 applications were received for the FY2022 program, collectively requesting a total of $808,000.

The Council typically has funding to support approximately 12-15% of requests for the annual grant. But thanks to the Vermont Community Foundation’s Arts Endowment Fund, along with generous contributions from Vermont Performance Lab and individual donors, the Council was able to provide eight additional Creation Grants this year.

Recipients were selected by two independent panels comprised of 28 practicing Vermont artists and arts professionals. Applicants could submit audio or video files for their proposals in place of written applications.

“The range of artistic talent in Vermont takes my breath away,” said Vermont Arts Council Executive Director Karen Mittelman. “We are pleased that new partnerships and generous private donations — so vital in this pandemic year — have enabled us to support the creative endeavors of twenty-three outstanding artists.”

For more information about the Creation Grant program, visit https://www.vermontartscouncil.org/grants/artists/creation